[ISN] Chinese Hacker May be PLA

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Fri Jul 16 2004 - 00:27:05 PDT


Lee Ha-won
July 15,2004 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs send an urgent message to the Korean 
Embassy in Beijing instructing it to confirm whether the recent 
hacking of computers at major national institutions is connected with 
the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army. Ahead of this, as the Foreign 
Ministry was protesting Chinese state-run media distortions of Goguryo 
history to Chinese Ambassador Li Bin on Wednesday, the ministry 
requested China's active cooperation in solving the hacking problem. 
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Shin Bong-kil said Li stated he would 
relay the request to Beijing and would work hard to see that the facts 
behind the hacking incident were revealed. 

The Foreign Ministry said, however, that since neither the identity of 
the hacker nor the level of PLA involvement has been revealed, it was 
best to respond cautiously. In accordance, at a meeting of 
high-ranking Foreign Ministry officials Thursday, the ministry decided 
to demand that measures be taken through diplomatic channels after 
National Intelligence Service and police investigations have been 

In some Foreign Ministry quarters, there are concerns that if the 
Chinese government doesn't cooperate, the criminal may not be revealed 
and the matter itself may fall into a labyrinth. They say that if the 
criminal is not revealed, there are limits to the diplomatic measures 
the Korean government could apply. 

Moreover, there are those within the government pointing out that a 
system must be created in which the country could actively respond 
diplomatically to cyber-terrorism. In the countermeasures committee 
set up to deal with the Chinese hacking incident, there is only one 
Foreign Ministry official of bureau-head rank, and within the 
ministry, only the second division of the Northeast Asia bureau is 
handling the matter. Accordingly, some government figures say the 
Foreign Ministry should better recognize the severity of the incident 
and respond more aggressively. 

The Foreign Ministry worries that with Sino-Korean tensions growing as 
a result of the Goguryo history issue, should it be confirmed that the 
hacking was conducted by the PLA, relations between the two countries 
could worsen. 

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